Berfrois

October 2011

Perhaps distance is the only way of thinking about Feininger’s art…

Perhaps distance is the only way of thinking about Feininger’s art…

 Sunset at Deep (Sunset), Lyonel Feininger, 1930 From The Smart Set: It is difficult to look at a painting such as “Sunset at Deep” (1930) — which captures the stillness of the seaside moment in geometrical shapes, the white blazing sun low and strong on the rectangle of water...

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Dear National Geographic

Dear National Geographic

by Tamar Rothenberg American Iconographic: National Geographic, Global Culture, and the Visual Imagination, by Stephanie L. Hawkins, Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 264 pp. What is iconic about National Geographic? From the ethnographic “types” displayed as such in the first half of the twentieth century, to the bare-breasted women...

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‘Five percent growth, five brownie points’

‘Five percent growth, five brownie points’

In Iceland the politicians promised to deliver 30 terrawatt hours of energy in an environmentally sustainable manner. So everyone immediately thinks, oh, that is scientific, rational and probably true.

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Yo Borges

Yo Borges

by Jon Beasley-Murray What does it mean to “read Borges”? What are we even endeavoring to read? “Borges” is a cipher: a proper name that stands in for a set of texts with which that name is associated. It’s a figure or speech or language, a form of metonymy:...

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Reverse Evolution

Reverse Evolution

From Jurassic Park, Universal Pictures, 1993 From Wired: People have told Jack Horner he’s crazy before, but he has always turned out to be right. In 1982, on the strength of seven years of undergraduate study, a stint in the Marines, and a gig as a paleontology researcher at...

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OOO

OOO

Sirius B by Tim Morton The world is teeming. Anything can happen. John Cage, “Silence” 1 Autonomy means that although something is part of something else, or related to it in some way, it has its own “law” or “tendency” (Greek, nomos). In their book on life sciences, Medawar...

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Mark Bevir: Marxism, Fabianism, Ethical Socialism

Mark Bevir: Marxism, Fabianism, Ethical Socialism

England to Her Own Rescue, Walter Crane, 1884 by Mark Bevir “We Are All Socialists Now: The Perils and Promise of the New Era of Big Government” ran a provocative cover of Newsweek on 11 February 2009. The financial crisis had swept through the economy, and the state had...

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Hackersklasse

Hackersklasse

From Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, Production I.G, 2002 From SKOR: Any work, of art, of writing, in any media, if it is in the least bit interesting, becomes at some point an adventure. Usually, the adventure happens in the making, before the work is finished. “The...

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SATAN, n.

SATAN, n.

 Satan’s Treasures, Jean Delville,1895 From The Smart Set: There’s a connection between the Devil and the word that goes back to the original Greek diábolos, which means “slanderer” or “accuser.” Bierce knew all too well the demons that lurk in our language. He wrote that the cynic sees things...

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Demand/Duration

Demand/Duration

#occupywallstreet general assembly, Zuccotti Park, New York From Harper’s: The nightly meetings of the General Assembly at occupied Liberty Plaza (officially, Zuccotti Park) in New York have been treated by the media mainly as a quaint footnote to the mass arrests and alleged police brutality attendant to the occupation....

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‘A dancing pine tree, a surfacing sea monster, a wife splitting into sixteen pieces and reassembling’

‘A dancing pine tree, a surfacing sea monster, a wife splitting into sixteen pieces and reassembling’

From The Times Literary Supplement: Sometimes a person’s most fleeting glance, a throwaway comment, or simply their presence, can become fixed with significance, freeze-framed in the memory like a panel in a comic, there to revisit and linger over. The visual and verbal registers of graphic novels seem well...

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